quite the place

we ran a bar in Portugal
my husband won it in a card game
took some work, I can assure you
but we stuck at it, until it was quite the place

it had a lounge in the basement,
enamelled tiles of peacocks and stags
panelled snugs pierced like confessionals
chandeliers, candles of sandalwood

the restaurant was on the ground floor
mountains of fruit, flowers, and breads
a monastery altar, with gorgeous aquaria
so you could point the waiter to your fish

the guest rooms were all upstairs
sweetly scented, linens laundered
clawfoot tubs, filigree shutters
every window with a view of the sea

something happened, though
a war? coup? I don’t remember
we were persona non grata
sold it all for a centavo

Still, one doesn’t do it for the money
and in the end, isn’t it something like this trifle?
gaudy, perhaps, and rather too sweet
but it gets you through the soup

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